NTSB recommends ban on driver cell phone use

2:47 PM, Dec 14, 2011   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal regulators have declared texting,  emailing or using any cellphone simply too dangerous to be allowed for drivers anywhere.

While the National Transportation Safety Board does not have the power to impose such restrictions, it's urging states to do so. The recommendation applies even to hands-free devices.

The recommendation follows a initial collision in a deadly highway pileup in Missouri last year was caused by the inattention of a 19- year-old pickup driver who sent or received 11 texts in the 11 minutes immediately before the accident.

The pickup driver and a 15-year-old student on one of the school buses were killed. Thirty-eight other people were injured.

The NTSB's recommendation makes an exception for use of phones and other devices in emergency situations.

But the NTSB's recommendations are just that: recommendations. State governments would have to take it upon themselves to pass such a ban.

In Georgia, then-Governor Sonny Perdue signed two bills into law last year -- one that banned cell phone use for drivers under 18, and one that banned texting while driving for everybody. Back then, the idea of a cell phone ban for all drivers never gained serious steam.

One proponent of such a ban says even these recommendations won't change the arguments against them.

"There's always an argument back that the state interferes too much," said Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D). "There's always an argument back that I'm tired of government telling me what to do."

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